Cu-Nisha Mitchell, Lynley Montano, Daylah Gonzalez and Jennifer Villalobos raced around the track at breakneck speed, intent on extracting every ounce of speed they could while making three passes of the baton.
Sanger won that heat, with anchor Villalobos accelerating up until the finish line in the four by 100 meter relay. Their time was 49.48 seconds.
“We’ve been running a 50 all season,” Villalobos said. “So we finally broke it. I’m really happy we ended the season like this.”
“We ended the season really good,” Gonzalez said. “And we’re all happy, which is really good, too.”
The team placed eighth overall. The final heat featured faster teams with Buchanan’s grabbing first with a 46.73 seconds, followed by Clovis North with 48.11 and Central with 48.13.
The Apaches would have beaten a school record had they improved on the 48.4 seconds put down by the 1976 team.
Theirs was just one of many events featuring Sanger athletes at the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Valley Championship meet May 18 at Buchanan High. The event, which started as pleasant, almost fall-like, soon turned inclement. Rain began to fall in heavier splatter as the afternoon wore on.
And that weather, unusual for the event, caused some trouble for athletes. “It was really slippery,” said Mckaley Yost, who had just finished the 100 meter hurdles. “I slipped on three hurdles.”
And that likely derailed her opportunity to reach her goal time of 15 seconds, she said. Her time was 16.58 seconds for 15th place. Reece Renz of Liberty-Bakersfield ran for first with 14.36, followed by Monea Jennings of Central with 14.91.
Yost also tied for 10th in high jump with 4 feet 8 inches.
Ben Rust finished the 110 meter hurdles in 16.07 seconds, putting him in 13th place. Caleb Foster of Clovis North won first with 14.27 seconds and Justice Fair of Arroyo Grande was second with 14.66.
“It was a good race until the eighth hurdle,” Rust said. Then he looked up at the electronic scoreboard as results filtered in one runner at a time. “We did not run that slow. But the first five hurdles were fast.”
Kayley Cardenas completed the 800 meters and congratulated her fellow athletes. “Good job ladies,” she said. Cardenas ran a 2:26.62 minutes. Kennedy Jennings of Edison was first with 2:14.38 and Tatum Zinkin of Clovis North second with 2:16.95.
The weather had no effect on Cardenas. “I usually do good in the rain,” she said. “It was my season PR (personal record).” She was pleased considering an injury dominated her cross country season earlier this year and she said she’s now getting back up to speed.
Sanger’s Isaiah Gaucin completed the 800 meters in 2:04.06. But he was hurting. “I strained my calf muscle last week,” he said. “I hurt it on the first 100 meters (in this race). It’s just a bad way to end the season.”
Mitchell said she was shooting for the triple jump school record of 36 feet 6.5 inches set in 2016 by Chinenye Agina. But the rain really started to come down when she made her attempts, and she was limited to a 34 feet 9 inches. Haley Abirached of Buchanan got first with 38 feet 7 inches.
Freshman Apache Nia Lamas ran to a personal record 4:57.69 minutes in the girls 1,600, placing fourth. Emotion hit hard after the race, and winner Meagan Lowe of Buchanan, a senior, consoled her fellow competitor after the event and under cover. Lowe had 4:50.80.
“It’s hard,” Lowe said. “That feeling.”
Lowe said she’s not competing in state and instead plans to head to another competition in Seattle this weekend. Lowe won the 3,200 in 10:29.65 minutes, and Lamas placed fifth with 11:11.16.
Damian Duarte, Kosi Agina, Jose Porras and David Ayala ran 43.54 seconds in the boys 400 meter relay for 10th. Annie Ramirez, Montano, Gonzalez and Cardenas ran 4:06.06 minutes in the 1,600 meter relay for eighth.
Kosi Agina placed sixth in long jump with 21 feet 5.25 inches.